HOW WILL THE METS HONOR JOSE REYES IN HIS FIRST GAME AS AN EX-MET ?

 

Last night watching the Celtics-Thunder game, midway into the game during a break in the action, the Celtics gave tribute to Thunder center Kendrick Perkins, who was a major player in the C’s Championship run back in 2008. Perk wasn’t just a major part of the C’s on court rotation, he was a huge fan favorite for his toughness, hustle and desire and it was Perkins first game in the Garden since he was traded. Perk was clearly touched as his teammates stayed on the bench while he stood at center court thanking the Celtics and fans for a very classy tribute.

It got me to think, what will the Mets do for Jose Reyes when he makes his first appearance as a former Met with the Marlins on April 24th.  They have to have some kind of Reyes career retrospective on the video board unlike the way they club never acknowledge the existence of Reyes during the video presentation at the new uniform unveilings a couple of months ago at Citi Field.

You have to figure, as Reyes comes up to lead off the game, there will be a raucous and long standing ovation so maybe when Reyes goes out to his shortstop position in the bottom of the first, before first pitch the Mets announce for everyone to turn their attention to video board for a tribute to Reyes.

You would think it’s a no brainer that the Mets honor Reyes some way but then again these are the Mets we’re talking about.

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IT’S NOT IF, BUT WHEN DOES DAVID WRIGHT BECOME AN EX-MET

 

David Wright held his Vegas Night charity event in Virginia Beach last night and gave some quotes to the media about the upcoming season.  I don’t know if this means much of anything but Wright it seems, has spent a lot of time back home in Virginia that I can remember in an off season. He was at Citi Field for the unveiling of the new uni’s but since then there hasn’t been much site of Wright around town.

Wright seems already agitated about hearing about trade rumors and being quizzed on a daily basis about his next baseball destination. He’s quoted as seeing Jose Reyes getting grilled about relocation last season and he doesn’t want to go through that. I wonder what that says about Wright? Maybe I’m being too critical of Wright but maybe it’s time he grew up and realized he’s not going to be a Met 4 Life.

Doesn’t Wright see the handwriting on the wall? First, he plays for a team whose owner is like a co-worker who lives pay check to pay check and for a GM who has no emotional ties to him. Just like the GM had none to Jose Reyes. He will make $15 mil this season and has a $16mil team option for 2013 with a club buyout of $1mil. You know how many bargain basement pitchers you can buy for $16 mil?

Wright should take a page from Reyes and Carlos Beltran, especially Beltran who knew his Mets days were numbered and used it as motivation to bounce back and get sent to a contender. Wright needs to get in the same mind set, stop worrying about being traded (for Christ sake Babe Ruth, was dealt away) and not worry about the Mets and just worry about himself.

Between the Wilpon’s money woes and Sandy Alderson’s distain for long term contracts, it’s easy to see that these are the final days of David Wright as a member of the NY Mets. Is it sad? Sure it is. We all wanted to see Wright play his full career as a Met with a couple of championships and Hall of Fame credentials on his resume but neither is going to happen. Maybe the fan base needs to grow up a bit as well.

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FREDDY WILPON SPPPPIIIINNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!

Well, Freddy Skill Sets came pretty close to being truthful with the fan base when he was interviewed by Brain Costa of the WSJ. Fred was in Arizona (wow Bolt goes to Phoenix?) for the quarterly owners meeting.  When asked about his financial struggle and the toll it is taking on him, the Mets organization and its fan base, Freddy Sez:

“How could anybody deny that it’s been a challenging time?” Wilpon said. “But I came from nothing. I meet the challenges. So does Saul and Jeff and our whole family. We’re meeting the challenges and I think we’ll be fine.”

“I think we’ll be fine”? Really?  How so Freddy ? What’ch ya keepin’ on the down low from us? The new minority shares are a band aid on a gaping wound but you know what, maybe the Skill Sets luck is changing as his Guardian Angel, Bud Selig is staying on for 2 more years as baseball czar and Wilpon enabler and as always has Freddy’s back:

“He’s been a great owner,” Selig said. “Loves his team. He’s everything you’d want in a local owner. He’s had some economic problems, not caused by himself, and I have a lot of faith in him that he’s working his way through them.”

And he’s oh, so good,

And he’s oh, so fine,

And he’s oh, so healthy,

In his body and his mind.

He’s a well respected man about town,

Doing the best things so conservatively.

Then Freddy was asked about Jose Reyes and his thoughts on Reyes:

“Reyes was 17 years old when I met him,” Wilpon said. “He spoke pretty good English at that time, too. He said to me, ‘Can you give me some advice?’ I said, ‘Yeah, never wipe that smile off your face.’”

Humm, “never wipe that smile off your face” looks like Freddy eats at Wo Hop like I do. Thankfully for Reyes’ sake Freddy didn’t hit him up with “Kid, I know a guy who can make you rich beyond belief”

Here is a nice picture on a rainy, windy, cold New York afternoon

Years before we would get to the 50th Anniversary of the NY Mets, Dana Brand was all pumped up about putting together a symposium at Hofstra University where he taught, on the history of the Mets. As you all know Dana passed away last year but his dream of having a conference at Hofstra will become a reality on April 26-28. Please check out all the details here and hopefully we can all meet up at Hofstra that weekend and celebrate not just the legacy of the NY Mets but of Dana Brand as well.

Steve Popper, the Mets beat writer for the Bergen Record is leaving the Mets beat and will become the Records man at MSG following the NY Knickerbockers. Not only is this a big loss for Mets fans but a huge loss for Mets bloggers like myself and other bloggers who have had the privilege of meeting Steve at various team functions. Many of the beat writers and media folk won’t even give us a response to a hello but Popper (as well as Adam Rubin and Kevin Kernan ) has always been friendly to us and has been gracious in sharing his thoughts with us about the Mets. Good luck Steve and thanks.

 

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THE NEW YORK METS ARE UNDER MY SKIN

Now that we have the holidays out of the way, we can now look forward to spring training for what should be quite the interesting Mets season.

Eric Simon of Amazin’ Avenue had an interesting post today on how bad will the Mets be in 2012? Of course the number one item on his list of things that will impact the season is the Skill Sets financial situation, something that will most likely overshadow what goes on, on the field but Simon also touches on the health and availability of Johan Santana, the hitting of Jason Bay and David Wright and where the offensive production lost from Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes will come from.

So my question to you my loyal readers, what is your expectation for the Mets this coming season? What is a realistic expectation of this team and what will be their standing in the NL East, a division that could be up for grabs if the reports of Prince Fielder signing with Washington are true. Can you see anything short of a last place finish in the division? Right now, I can’t.

Where do you see Johan Santana this season? For me, I’d be surprised if we see Santana pitch for the Mets before June.

What to do with David Wright? Wright is not a player, right now that could realistically bring back a treasure trove of young talent but what if he is invigorated by good health and more friendly dimensions of Citi Field and puts up a .300/.380/.500 line with 15-17 HR’s and 75-80 + RBI by the All-Star break, do you keep him and hope a new owner comes in with cash to re-sign him or is the lure of young robust baseball players to tempting to turn down in a trade?  I’m still undecided on this one but I am leaning towards a deal if the Mets get back a blue ribbon prospect or a young Major Leaguer under club control.

When I go to opening day at Citi Field, who else will be there? If you are a true blue Mets fan and having been going to Mets games your whole life I can’t see how now you decide to sit this season out. No one has a right to tell you how to spend your time or money but as Boggy said, “a hot dog at a ballgame beats roast beef at the Ritz”. So true, I mean today when I left for work I had on a sweater, coat, scarf and wool hat. You know what? That sucks. I want to wear shorts and t-shirt and have a scorecard in my hand. I have made peace with myself that the Mets will not be very good this season to the point that 100 losses would not shock me. However, there is still a part of me that small sliver of Mets fan naivete` that still has me holding out hope that this season could be full of surprises and I want to be there to enjoy them.  I know all the die-hards will be out at Citi Field on Thursday April 5th at 1:10PM, will you be there? If not tell me why not?

It’s funny the other teams I root for in other sports are playing at a level where they are contenders for championships in their respective leagues but it’s the Mets that are on my mind the most  and my biggest concern. Crazy shit eh?

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WITH THE NY METS IT’S TEAM FIRST

 

 

I would think by now every player on the Mets has gotten the message, you can be replaced, to that I say, it’s about time.

I know there is a segment of the fan base who get their balls in a uproar when they hear of their favorite player mentioned in trade rumors and we can see by the group whose pissed off that Jose Reyes is now a former Met,  who will miss Reyes by the way not for his baseball prowess but because they love his dreads or he helps them sell t-shirts and don’t have the capacity to look at it as solely the baseball move that it was. It’s the same way some have reacted to the scuttlebutt that Ike Davis and Jon Niese have been dangled as trade bait. I know it’s been awhile since the Mets have had a true general manager running their team but I’ll let you kids in on a secret this is how you run a baseball team.

Now before you call me an asshole (if you haven’t already) let me make it clear that I am not advocating that Ike and Niese be dealt but as a Mets fan you should be encouraged that Sandy Alderson is doing his job in trying to build this wreck of a franchise into a contending team for the long haul.

I get it that the Mets fan base is quite diverse but you can’t keep sucking year after year and keep players just because they were drafted by the organization or have nice dimples you need players who can actually step up and win some baseball games. Give me a flat ass, pimple face baseball player who can get on base, knock in runs or pitch seven innings a start any day of the week.

It’s quite obvious that Alderson feels there is not one player on his current roster he cannot live without and as a fan of the TEAM that should make you happy. When Alderson was first introduced as Mets GM he was asked about relationships with players, he let it known from the jump that he’s not here to be their friend but he would do whatever he could to help them if they needed his assistance.

I’m sure Alderson thinks David Wright is as fine a young man as he’s met in baseball but that won’t stop him for dealing him away for a front line pitching prospect or a top flight center fielder.  It’s not personal its business.

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LET’S DRINK TO JOSE REYES AT FOLEY’S NY

So what do you do with that REYES 7 you won’t be wearing to Citi Field anymore? Well, you can bring it to Foley’s NY and exchange it for a beer or an appetizer (or champagne if your happy he’s gone) Here is the info :

Foley’s NY Pub & Restaurant (18 W. 33rdSt.) offers New York Mets fans the opportunity to bid adios to former shortstop Jose Reyes, who has signed with the Miami Marlins.   The popular baseball bar will allow customers to exchange their Mets #7 Reyes jerseys for a free beer (to drown their sorrows), champagne (to celebrate his departure) or free appetizer (for fans who do not drink).

 

 “New York baseball is feeling a swirl of emotions as Jose Reyes heads south this winter,  We’re giving Mets fans a chance to drown their sorrows — or celebrate — and bid adios to Jose, one of the best and most popular Mets players ever,” said Shaun Clancy, owner of Foley’s, which features 2,500 autographed balls, bats and other baseball memorabilia.  “By doing this, we can have a little fun and donate to clothing drives for people who are less fortunate.”

 

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NEWS AND VIEWS

 

As we wait for Sandy Alderson and his Front Office Posse to check  into the Motel 6 Hilton Anatole in Dallas so they can get some much needed work done to reshape the 2012 Mets, let’s look at a few news items from that last few days:

ITEM: JOSE REYES STILL A FREE AGENT

I would love to hear the conversations between Reyes and his agent on their free agency game plan. So far all we’ve heard is a rumor of an imminent deal with the Fish and nothing more, just a lot of speculation, in fact we’ve heard about this deal for about three weeks now.  As I’ve mentioned before, I love how Alderson is playing is hand here, especially how he told the Mets beat writers all he knows about Reyes right now is what he reads in the papers. This guy is good, very good. If by some chance Reyes comes back to the Mets he may end up paying them to play here.

By the way check out this post from Coop on the Reyes free agent saga at Kiner’s Korner a well worthy read.

ITEM: OMAR MINAYA HIRED BY THE SAN DIEGO PADRES TO WORK IN THE FRONT OFFICE

Congrats to Omar as he was named the SR. VP of Baseball Ops for the San Diego Padres. As a GM and the front office face of a franchise, Minaya was miscast, his perfect role is that of scout and amateur talent evaluator. Safe to say Minaya will never be a big league GM again same as Willie Randolph will never be a big league manager again, the jobs were just too big for both of them.

ITEM: DODGERS SIGN CHRIS CAPUANO TO A 2YR/$10 MIL DEAL

And you want to know why the Dodgers are bankrupt? Thank the baseball gods that Nick Colletti is not the Mets GM.

ITEM: PEDRO MARTINEZ ANNOUCES HIS RETIREMENT FROM BASEBALL

No doubt about it, Pedro is a first ballot Hall Of Famer. I’ve never hide my man crush for Pedro and who could forget his first start with the Mets, Opening Day April 4, 2005 in Cincinnati where he gave up 3 runs in the first inning then settled down to K 12 Red Legs before giving way to the bullpen and suckitude closer Braden Looper losing the game. Then a week later at opening day at Shea Stadium, the fans cheering every time Pedro was shown on the Jumbotron or walked on the field, talk about electric. It’s sad his Mets career wasn’t very fruitful but still Pedro was the man.

 

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SANDY ALDERSON TALKS WITH NY METS BLOGGERS

Last night I had the privilege to be invited to be part of the Mets bloggers Q & A conference call with Mets GM Sandy Alderson. Eric Simon and the staff at Amazin’ Avenue have done another outstanding job of putting together a transcript of the conference call (click the link and read the whole transcript it will be the most informative information you’ll get about the Mets anywhere) and I thank them very much for undertaking the chore of transcribing and crediting each blogger with a link to our sites along with our questions, Thanks again Eric.

A few observations I took from the call:

Alderson is playing his hand in the Jose Reyes sweepstakes like a top poker player. In years past, the Mets were always duped into not just setting the market price on free agents but bidding against themselves. His answer to the question on whether he thought of Reyes as a franchise player was 100 % spot on:

Do I consider him a franchise player? Yes. But a franchise player is only valuable as such if he is contributing to a winning franchise as opposed to simply acting as eye wash for a team that is not very good.

Again, everybody loves Reyes and wants him to be a Met For Life, yet less than 5,000 fans showed up on the final day of the season and what may have been Reyes last game as a Met. That’s why Alderson doesn’t play to the lunatic fringe of Metsfandom and for that I am so grateful.

Alderson got into the business end of running the Mets as Howard Megdal, who should be your go to read with the anything Mets related but most certainly on learning the financial end of what the Skill Sets and the organization are up against in these trying money times with the Mets. It may a bit simplistic on my part but it seems Alderson is saying that he has x-amount of dollars in his budget given to him by ownership and he has to do the best he and his staff can to fill the roster with players good enough to compete and not hurt the bedrock of foundation of the organization, the farm system. There are some (I’d say a minority) of Mets fans who don’t get the fact that finances of this franchise are in a total state of flux but no matter the outcome, it would take either a discovery of oil or gold during the renovation of the Citi Field outfield for the Skill Sets to own this team for the long term.  

I really believe Alderson enjoys doing these Q & A’s with the Mets bloggers more than dealing with the MSM. The first one we did last year lasted about half an hour, then when we met with Alderson face to face at the Mets Holiday Party he joined us in our own little group for more questions and didn‘t seem to be in a hurry to get away from us. Last night he spoke to us for an hour and seemed to enjoy the questions and giving us insight into what he and his staff are doing to making the Mets into a top flight franchise.

His answer to my question was about that, he is hell-bent in turning around the perception of the NY Mets franchise, as much as Alderson feels there has been progress in that direction he knows the only way to advance it is for him to put together a winning team:

{Steve Keane (The Eddie Kranepool Society): Your first year as a Mets general manager, how would you assess your progress that you and your staff have made in the first year with the Mets? What has been the most challenging situation or thing that’s happened with you as the GM of the Mets, and what’s been the biggest surprise on the positive side and on the negative side?

 

Alderson: I look at things in three areas. The organization as a whole, the infrastructure, what’s happening in player development and scouting, and what’s happening at the major league level.

 

Organizationally, I’m very pleased with where we are. We’re not fully where we want to be. In the areas of structure and process and personnel, we’re making a lot of progress. We made some personnel changes last year, we’ve made a few this year. The more important changes organizationally have come in the area of process as we blend the pre-existing staff with newly added staff. From an organizational standpoint, we’ve made some progress.

 

Player-development-wise, we’ve made significant progress, I think our approach to the draft last year was a departure from previous years, and I think at least early returns are that it was a positive change. If you look at our top prospects, we were able to add to that list not only from not only the further development of existing players, but also from the draft as well as the trade, most prominently the trade for Zack Wheeler. I think player-development-wise, the continued development of Matt Harvey and some others, and remember at this time last year, Matt Harvey had never thrown a professional pitch. I think some very positive things are happening at the player development and scouting level.

 

At the major league level, I’m very pleased with Terry Collins last year and I think our major league staff will be even stronger this year than it was. Dave Hudgens did a great job in refocusing our offensive philosophy. I think we’ve made a lot of progress philosophically at least in how we are approaching the game, not just in respect to hitting, but a more aggressive approach, a more accountable approach that Terry has demanded.

 

If you tie those three things together, what I’d hoped to achieve in the first year primarily was to change the perception of the organization. Despite the fact that we didn’t finish over .500, I think overall, the way the team played, some of the other things that happened over the course of the year, did help to change the perception of the organization and its direction and its chances of success in the future.

 

My biggest disappointment going back to last year was just the way we finished the season. We finished poorly, we started poorly. Part of that was attributable to injury, but some of it was a result of weakening the team later for long-term benefit. I think for example, if we’d kept Frankie Rodriguez, we would have finished well over .500. I think that the lack of a closer cost us a number of games.

 

But, the overall perception did change. I think that there is some greater confidence in the future for the Mets and that was an important thing to accomplish. I think the way we finished detracted from that somewhat, I think we were able to move people’s thinking in that direction.}

I’d like to thank Danielle Parillo and Shannon Forde for putting this and all the Mets bloggers event together and of course a big thank you to Sandy Alderson for his time and insight    

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ACCORDING TO THE 2012 BILL JAMES HANDBOOK, THE METS HAVE NO DEFENSE

for a copy of the 2012 Bill James Handbook check out ACTA Sports  

My must have book of the baseball off season is the Bill James Handbook (ACTA publishing) and this off season is no exception. I just got my hands on the 2012 edition of the Handbook and as usual it is filled with stats and essay’s that help any baseball fan make informed thoughts when looking at your teams needs for the coming season.

One of my favorite features in the Handbook is The Fielding Bible Awards.  John Dewan puts this section together and enlists some of the great baseball minds to vote on the awards. This year the voters are:

Bill James

Baseball Info Solutions (BIS) Video Scouts

Hal Richman creator of Strat-O-Matic  Baseball

Joe Posnanski

John Dewan

Peter Gammons

Doug Glanville

Rob Neyer

Todd Radcliffe Lead Video Scout for BIS

Tom Tango Fan Poll

These ten voters rank players at all nine positions using a 1-10 voting system, the votes are tallied and the top 10 players are listed. For our purposes let’s look at how the Mets defenders faired

At first base Daniel Murphy (yes Daniel Murphy) graded out at #10 with 18 total points.  Bill James voted Murph 5th, BIS Video Scouts voted him 10th, Joe Posnanski voted him 5th and John Dewan listed him 6th on his ballot. This is why I won’t be shocked when Murphy is dealt this winter  to play 1st or even 3rd base where he grades out positive as well in exchange for one of the many needs the Mets have this off season. It’s at 2nd base where Murphy is a -2 in the Runs Saved (RS) category and why the Mets need to think of defense first at second. By the way Justin Turner grades out at a woeful -11 RS at 2nd base.

So you can see neither Murph nor Ginger Turner rated in the top 10 (Ruben Tejeda by the way was a +1 in RS at 2nd base) my favorite non-Mets player Dustin Pedroia finished #1 with 97 pts

A big surprise was at shortstop where Mets icon, Jose Reyes didn’t come close to a top ten finish with a lowly 6 pts to his name.

I don’t know if this is a surprise or not (I’ll leave it up to you) but at 3rd base David Wright did not garner a single vote. The Wreck of Miguel Tejada received votes from Glanville, Posnanski and Dewan . MIGUEL TEJADA!!!!!! If that doesn’t motivate D-Wright to get his leather groove on, I don’t know what would?

Jason Bay finished out of the money in 15th but at least he was ahead of the 500 lb left fielder a/k/a Carlos Lee

In the section dealing with centerfielder’s I’ve stared at the page for hours, held it up to the light then to a mirror and still not a sign of Angel Pagan, in fact if the Handbook was released on vinyl and you played it backwards you would hear Pagan is dead. Could Sandy Alderson give us a shiny new centerfielder for Christmas?  Can he find a way to get Peter Bourjos or Adam Jones ? Hell, I’d settle for Coco Crsip.

In the right field category there isn’t a Mets representative and I have a strong feeling there won’t be one in the 2013 Handbook either.

24 catchers received Fielding Bible Award votes, none were named Josh Thole. Kelly Shoppach received 12 votes and would a perfect tag team partner for Thole who in all fairness is still learning the tools of ignorance trade on the Major League Level.

The highest rated Mets defender is none other than Robert Allen Dickey, R.A. to you and me.  I wonder if Dickster can play 2nd base or centerfield on his four days off?

That’s just some of the great features in the 2012 Bill James Handbook and it’s also a very useful reference as we play amateur GM of the Mets this off season.

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PAGAN BE GONE

 

If Angel Pagan is the Mets opening day center fielder I’m going to be pissed off.  A lot of my angst over Pagan has to do with his inconsistent play especially in the outfield and some of it has to do with what is perceived as a “me” attitude that looks as if it chaps the mangers ass as well. Terry Collins was miffed when Pagan took himself out of a game last year claiming he had a stomach virus and was dehydrated but never told the manger he was headed to the porcelain palace in the clubhouse as his turn to bat was up. Pagan also bitched and moaned about batting leadoff when Jose Reyes was out with his blown up hammy, solidifying his rep as a selfish player

Mike Silva wrote a piece on how Pagan may be the best of what’s out there as far as centerfielders go, but why do the Mets always have to settle?  If it’s going to cost at least $5mil to sign Pagan why not go a couple of million more and sign David DeJesus?

DeJesus would be a upgrade over Pagan in the outfield for sure and  an upgrade in the lineup as well as DeJesus has a better ability to get on base than that of Pagan.

Sandy Alderson has targeted the pitching staff, zeroing in on the bullpen, as job one this off season but he also needs to address the defense which was one of the worst in baseball last year.  The up the middle D was especially poor (Jose Reyes by the way was -11 in Runs Saved ) so if the organization can’t afford to go all out to get some decent arms then maybe an upgrade on the defensive side would help the arms the Mets have now?

I think this post by Shannon at  Mets Police says it all about being a Mets fan.

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Tickets

The Mets are looking great this year and The Eddie Kranepool Society keeps you up to date on the good bad and the ugly. If you are looking for Mets Tickets, you must visit Coast To Coast Tickets for all your ticket needs. CTC carries MLB Tickets as well as some of the best priced Concert Tickets on the web and don't forget they also carry Yankees Tickets.

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